Customizable Chocolate Bar Company Chocri Coming to the U.S. in Time for Valentine’s Day

Custom-Made Chocolate Bars by chocri

Custom-Made Chocolate Bars by chocri

“Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment.” – Catherine Aitken

Chocolate is perhaps the world’s most affordable luxury. In good times, and in bad, people seem to always turn to the sweet treat, leading some to label chocolate as “recession proof”. In Germany, one innovative start-up named chocri (AMP3’s latest client) caters to the selective chocoholic, by offering premium organic Belgian chocolate bars, which consumers can cover with toppings of their choice – ranging from nuts and dried fruit, to herbs, cereals and candies. After a massively successful first year of business in Germany, chocri is now expanding to the U.S. market. I spoke with chocri CEO Carmen Magar…

Termeh Mazhari: How did the concept behind chocri come about?

Carmen Magar: The two founders, Franz and Micha, were already chocolate entrepreneurs when, in early 2008, Franz needed to find the perfect gift for his girlfriend’s birthday. Genius struck, and he decorated a chocolate bar with his girlfriend’s favorite toppings, which you may call the first chocri bar! Shortly after, a friend asked for a bar with toppings for his mother as a gift, and then that led to more orders, and so forth. And that’s when Franz and Micha decided to turn customized chocolate bars into a business, and chocri was born.

Termeh Mazhari: Where does the name chocri come from?
Carmen Magar: From a fan! Franz and Micha had a few ideas, and so they polled their friends and fans and chocri was the winner. We polled our fans in the US too and chocri won again. It’s actually a combination of the words chocolate and create!

Termeh Mazhari: Tell me about DIV Kinder, the charity program you are supporting…

Carmen Magar: Our cocoa beans are from the Ivory Coast, the biggest exporter of cocoa beans in the world. Unfortunately, many cocoa farmers in the world have unethical working conditions and farming practices, such as child labor. For this reason, the chocolate we use is entirely fair-trade (that includes both the cocoa and all other traded ingredients). In addition, DIV Kinder is an organization that supports children in the Ivory Coast, protecting them from child labor and helping them and their families to obtain better living conditions. The money we have so far collected went towards a well, refrigerators and now an orphanage, and our founders know the organization personally, so we can ensure that the money is used entirely for a good cause.

Termeh Mazhari: What have been the most popular chocolate bar combinations with your German customers?

Carmen Magar: With our three base chocolates and 90 toppings, we allow for more than 10 billion combinations, so even just for a combination to be picked twice is unusual! However, I can tell you that the most popular toppings are real gold flakes, dried strawberries, roasted almonds,  hazelnut brittle, and cinnamon.

Termeh Mazhari: What has been the biggest challenge with your U.S. expansion?

Carmen Magar: Really, things that shouldn’t be a challenge.  Like opening a bank account is extra complicated for international businesses. But there’s nothing we can’t manage! 🙂

Termeh Mazhari: Who picks the toppings at chocri?

Carmen Magar: Although we started out with some of our own ideas, by now our toppings are mainly determined by our customers! For example, we had a “toppings poll” a while back for the US where we put existing toppings as well as some new ideas to a vote. After the poll, we found out, for example, that we needed to add cocoa nibs to our topping choices!

Termeh Mazhari: Do you think chocolate is recession-proof?

Carmen Magar: Yes! In fact, I think chocolate has an advantage in a recession! Chocolate makes you happy, after all! Also, affordable luxuries such as a high quality chocolate bar usually show growth in a recession. By the way, according to a recent article in the NY Times, mass customization sales grew ten times faster than e-commerce last year!

Termeh Mazhari: What are some of the strangest topping choices at chocri?

Carmen Magar: My Chicago Booth Entrepreneurship professor thinks edible gold is a crazy choice. I personally think many of the herbs, like basil or orange pepper, are surprising (but tasty!)

Termeh Mazhari: And what is your favorite chocolate bar?

Carmen Magar: My favorite changes every week! I’m dying to try out marzipan stars on dark chocolate. My solid all-time favorite so far though is dark chocolate with strawberries, roasted almonds and basil. Chocolatey, sweet and provocative! Love it 🙂

U.S. consumers can create their own chocolate bar starting January 11, 2010 at CreateMyChocolate.com. A unique gourmet gift for Valentine’s Day, chocri is sure to please that special someone in your life. For all media inquiries, you can email me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2009 at 10:49 am and is filed under Chocri Chocolates, Food, Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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